February 20th, 2009
03:47 PM ET
9 years ago

Poll finds partisan opinions on bipartisanship

A new poll shows Americans want Obama to work more with Republicans.

A new poll shows Americans want Obama to work more with Republicans.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A new national poll indicates that a majority of Americans want President Barack Obama to try to pass laws with bipartisan support rather than just with the backing of Democrats in Congress. But the CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey, released Friday, also suggests that Democrats aren't so enthusiastic about bipartisanship.

Fifty-five percent of respondents questioned in the poll would rather see the president try to pass laws with bipartisan compromise. But that number drops 15 points, to 40 percent, among Democrats in the survey. Fifty-eight percent of Democrats would rather see Obama try to pass laws without Republican support.

Full poll results [PDF]

Obama signed the stimulus package into law on Tuesday. The $787 billion bundle is designed to pump up the economy by increasing federal government spending, sending aid to states in fiscal trouble, and cutting taxes. The bill passed Congress less than four weeks after Obama took office. It passed the House of Representatives with no Republican support. In the Senate, three of the chamber's 41 Republicans backed the bill.

"Bipartisanship is always more popular with the party out of power than with the party that is in control," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

Democrats have wide majorities in both houses of Congress, but they are just shy of a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. A filibuster is a move by the minority party in the Senate to basically bring action in the chamber to a halt. Sixty votes are needed to break a filibuster and the Democrats currently hold 58 seats in the Senate.

Fifty-eight percent of those polled said they have a favorable opinion of the Democratic Party, down 2 points from December. Thirty-nine percent indicate they have a positive opinion of the Republican Party, also down 2 points from December.

Has the Republican Party taken a hit because it opposed the stimulus plan?

"Nothing much has changed," said CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider. "The GOP is still behind the Democrats. They haven't paid a price for opposing the plan but haven't made any gains either."

The survey's release comes one month after Obama's inauguration as president. Two out of three people questioned in the poll approve of the way Obama is handling the job. And more than seven in 10 think that he is a strong leader who inspired confidence and is tough enough for the job.

"But the public appears more attracted to Obama's personal characteristics than his stand on the issues, and they don't think he can end partisan gridlock in Washington, one of the key messages of Obama's presidential campaign," Holland said.

Public opinion about the president, while still fairly high, has dropped a bit since December on some measures, including 6- to 7-point losses on inspiring confidence and the president's ability to bring change.

"One exception is the number who say Obama is a strong leader," adds Holland. "That's grown to 80 percent, a sign that his attempts to look presidential in the past few weeks have paid off."

The number who said they agree with Obama on important issues dropped a bit as well, and although that figure is still over 60 percent, it is one of the lowest scores he received.

"That's a signal that Obama's personal appeal, rather than his stands on the issues, are boosting his overall ratings," Holland said.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll was conducted Wednesday and Thursday, with 1,046 adults questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (191 Responses)
  1. Dale

    President Obama believed in all the hype that his followers and supporters believed in that he thought all would be smooth and easy once he was in office. He is now realizing that being President is a difficult job and there are 305 million American citizens to serve and not just the 55 million that voted for him last Nov. Welcome to Washington President Obama now stick to your campaign promises before you run out of promises to keep.

    February 20, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  2. Linda Kilgore

    Bipartisanship – either folks want to work with each other or they do not. The Republicans are acting like babies and that's a shame. They held the American people hostage for 8 long years, and now they can't have their way – they are crying the blues. We as Americans are concern about our families, homes, future – we have no time to worry about if the Democrats and Republicans are working together – we need the government to work that's the bottom line. I don't care about the Republicans nor the Democrats we need people who care about the Amerian people and that we can turn this economy around. I am sick and tired of hearing about Bipartisanship. The News, Media is focusing on two parties marrying each other, no, we need to focus on finding solutions that will help this President keep food on our tables.

    February 20, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  3. Sabrina

    I think you need to remember that Bush has screwed up the country and Obama is trying hard to fix it. The unpatriotic Republican Party does not want the President to suceed and therefore, they are making it difficult. The people are behind Obama every step of the way. So take that to the bank!!!!

    February 20, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  4. Chris from NY

    CNN should stop these pollings. They are not helping any one or the country by doing so. We all know where things stand in everyone's kitchen. That's all that matters right now. The Republicans don't care for any one else but themsleves. They are righteous in their own eyes. They practice Christianity like the Pharisees and Saducees did in Jesus' times. They condemn any one twho does not believe in their own conceits. The only sin they know is abortion. They forgot that the same God who said thou shall not kill said you should not steal and love your neighbor as thyself.

    February 20, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  5. Jo

    Again another poll. If Americans want bipartisanship they should look to the donothing party. They are ones who want no part of anything the president has to offer. I only hope that once things turn around the donothings end up with egg on their faces. They will be clamoring for bipartisanship then. CNN do you do anything else besides take polls? Just wondering.

    February 20, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  6. Dont blame me

    You can't call it bipartisanship when the Obama talks to republicans and THEN reminds them that HE won the election and then blows off ALL of their ideas. There is NOTHING bipartisan about that.

    You can't call it bipartisanship when ALL republicans are CLOSED OUT of the meetings that are being held in congress.

    You can't call it bipartisanship when ONLY 3 senators vote WITH the democrats.

    But you CAN call it bipartisanship when 11 democrats stand up for what is right along side of the republicans.

    February 20, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  7. johnrj08

    Well, I'm shocked that the people who didn't care for Obama are now being critical of him. That is remarkable. NOT. The Republican Party has always been driven by ideology, so it has always been an obstructive force when the other party was in power. Dogmatists are never willing to negotiate anything that strays away from their belief system. Right now, the GOP is very worried about its future, so it's grasping at straws, trying to discredit Obama's policies anyway that it can. More interested in preserving its political position than in helping the country, I think.

    February 20, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  8. thomas

    How are we ever going to find the forest with all of these trees in the way?
    Let them fail.
    Don't bail out anybody.
    Who's gonna bail me out?
    Why should I pay my neighbor's mortgage?
    Is it my fault people bought homes they couldn't afford?
    Obama is a Socialist.

    February 20, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  9. no corporate politics

    Obama criticized Hillary for not being bipartisan in the past. He then PROMISED to be bipartisan.

    Another broken promise.

    If he promised to stop the rain, people might say "he cannot control the weather" – but he is still at fault for promising it.

    February 20, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  10. rj

    Ultimately, I'd rather see the Democratic leadership accept full responsibility for what I believe will be the ultimate failure of their actions. The spending plans put in place will obviously have beneficial affects on the economy; however, those benefits will come at significant longer term cost. Spending cannot continue unabated, and the Democratic leadership has made it clear they would rather pursue increased spending which will result in increased taxation and therefore decreased longer term growth. I'd rather have the Republican leadership go back to its true conservative roots of smaller government; sponsorship of programs that help individuals help themselves rather than programs that simply perpetuate a need for government assistance; focus on education as a longer term social benefit.

    February 20, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  11. Patty in the CA mountains

    Cooperation from/with both parties is always the preference. That said, when one party, in this case the republican party, absolutely refuses, under any circumstances, to cooperate – when in fact they conspire to NOT cooperate from the beginning for obvious political posturing – bipartisian cooperation cannot be attained no matter how hard Obama might try. In a case like this, then do what you have to do for the good of America and leave the stubborn children in the corner.

    February 20, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  12. adamant

    God help this country. If we as U.S. citizens behaved like the fools/crooks/ non tax paying/payed-off people we have in Washington we'd be in prison!

    February 20, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    And? Are we suprised? The GOP refused to budge from its "trust corporate america" trickle-down blabber and was irate that Obama proposed a bill with tax cuts in it because it prevented them from claiming credit for whatever tax cuts ended up in it. Their attitude is "our way or the highway" and they will "show party unity" by voting unanimously against anything that contains even a smidgen of something they don't like. In other words, it's an ideological showdown in their minds, not a matter of finding pragmatic solutions. There is no real compromise with them...either you give them everything they want or they start toeing the line. They wanted tax cuts and there are tax cuts in the bill, but they wanted ONLY tax cuts, so they rave like lunatics about the other portions of the bill and say no compromise was allowed. That's INSANE. Compromise means both parties get some of what they want. Both parties did.

    February 20, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  14. vic

    So, President Obama is supposed to bend over and bow down to the Republican Party? Supposed to use their nonsensical ideas instead of his own, knowing their ideas are wrong for the country?
    The republicans haven't had any good ideas....all they know is tax cuts!
    And tax cuts are not the answer. Our states are bankrupt and our government is bankrupt, yet the republicans want more tax cuts. Just plain stupid.
    And polls are just that...polls. Who's being used in these polls? How many people, and what ages, and what racial makeup, and what income level, and what party affiliate?
    I'm losing faith in CNN. They're turning into Fox News.

    February 20, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  15. Yolanda Moore

    How is this possible if the Republicans are not wiling to work with the Democrats???The Republicans can not have it both ways 1)not willing to cooperate and 2)then reserve the right to complain that democrats are not williwng to work with them.. Again TYPICAL!!!!!

    February 20, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  16. Scott

    Republicans broke it, but they don't want to fix it. They only win if the country loses. Get on board, GOP, or get left behind.

    February 20, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  17. Wilberto Jimenez, Monmot, MD

    Keep it up, you slimy politicians. Pass your legislation that violates the Constitutions and bankrupts the country for generations.

    You will get yours when the Revolution comes...

    February 20, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  18. randy

    The only thing bipartisan about the people in our government is that they are all ineffectual idiots. They care about their own party and power and could give a s*** about this country of ours.

    It's looking like the terrorist organizations of the world can just sit back and watch us tear ourselves apart.

    February 20, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  19. Dont blame me

    To Gene.

    Did you see the DNC threatening the few democrats that voted against the stimulus?


    No you didn't, BUT there have been a LOT of cases where the DNC HAS PUNISHED its members over the last 4 years for voting with President Bush, but YOU don't seem to remember that.

    February 20, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  20. Steve

    The country is in the hands of amateurs. What should we expect from someone with no experience ever managing anything!
    His stimulus plan is designed to appease the lower class so that he can stay in office.
    This guy is a socialist and may very well be a racist as well.

    February 20, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  21. S.M.R.

    After 8 years of failed policies and direction,why in our right mind would we want more of the same!!! It's a joke how they consider Obamas first month as a failure when he is doing his best to clean up the mess. President Obama is speaking the truth in stating that we are in a crisis and the GOP is saying everything he does is wrong. They need to step back and quite being so negative or the stock market is going to continue to slide. These rich S.O.B.'s don't care, they want Obama to fail so they can gain control again. If McCain won, the stock market would have crashed by now and nothing would have been done about the morgage crisis. He would stile be celebrating his victory while our nation goes down the tube!!! THANK YOU PRESIDENT OBAMA FOR ALL YOUR HARD WORK FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE!!! 🙂

    February 20, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  22. Gary

    I think that when 1 party is in power they always seem to be less interested in bipartisanship (this is true for both parties). The Democrats wrote this stimulus bill, they put Democrat pork into it, forced it through the House, modified it as little as possible to get the 3 most liberal Republicans to sign on and then rammed it through the Senate. No one even had time to read it or debate the final bill. Then after rushing it to get done so that Nancy Pelosi could get on to her Italian vacation (on the taxpayers money!), Obama didn't even sign it for 3 days. This wasn't bipartisan and I don't really think that Nancy Pelosi or the other Democrats feel one bit guilty. If Obama wants to bring bipartisanship change to Washington, he'll first have to change Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid's attitudes.

    February 20, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  23. Ron

    After 8 years of Non-partisan efforts and now it's important to the Minority? John Boehner is the thorn in the side of the GOP. There can be no level of debate with his hateful rehtoric in guiding the Minority to act like "swarms of fire ants" towards any type of Democratic endevor.

    February 20, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  24. Juan Jimenez

    The problem is that the GOP thinks "bipartisanship" means "my way or the filibuster highway." Gaggle of hypocrits is what they are, the party of "No."

    February 20, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  25. Dax Kelm

    We are seeing the drawbacks of a 2 party system in the United States. There is no middle ground.

    February 20, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
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